Migrated post from Blogger.com Refer to Europe 2009 Blog Migration
This post focuses on the general tour and overall thoughts of TopDeck as the tour operator.
The Europe Uncovered tour is a discovery type. This means that you get a sampling of the places you visit and for the key stops/cities, dedicated time for discovery activities is provided. TopDeck take care of the accommodation (2-3 star hotels) and the transportation between tour cities is via coach. The Europe Uncovered tour is split into two legs:
- London to Rome (Western Europe)
- Rome to Amsterdam (Eastern Europe)
I was one of 13 people who only did the first leg. Another 12-13 people were joining the group from Rome and touring the second leg only. The remaining 20+ people were doing the entire London to Amsterdam tour. Note: there was a small group (6) who joined the tour from Paris and not London.
The following main cities involved a stop-over with day-trip visits:
- Paris – two nights (pass through of Dover/Calais on the ferry)
- Mt Rigi, Switzerland – two nights (day trip to Luzern)
- Nice – two nights (evening in Monaco)
- Florence – one night (daytime stopover in Pisa)
- Rome – two nights (daytime visit to Vatican City – I missed out on this because of my flight to Rotterdam)
The age range was for young people in their 20s and the majority of people were young married couples. A smattering of Aussie Asians, 2 Kiwis, 1 Canadian and 1 English girl. Most of the Australians were either from Perth or Sydney, more so than those of us based on Melbourne.
The hotel rooms were small and some were quite cramp, but then again – they were 2 or 3 star rated, and the tour package cost had been priced in the low to medium range.
Overall, the experience was typical of a TopDeck tour. It is a very different kind of tour than a Trafalgar tour which is marketed to older generations of tourists who demand more luxury and 4-5 star accommodation. The friendships formed over a single leg were enough to be sustained after the tour, although I know it would have been even stronger for some of the couples who journeyed together for the entire 14-day trip across Europe.
The image above is actually a shirt design that we collaborated on as a group. We agreed on a simple black-white colour and various people were given the responsibility of picking an image to symbolise each of the major cities. The reference at the very bottom of all our names to Elmo was because someone had brought the Elmo soft toy along and he became our group mascot.